Bodyguard Cleared on Charges of Misconduct

ONE of Julia Gillard’s close bodyguards has been cleared of allegations he used the Prime Minister’s VIP plane to help run his private business.

An internal Australian Federal Police investigation found that the senior close personal protection officer carried model aircraft as part of his personal luggage on a flight from Brisbane to Canberra.

But he was cleared of allegations he may have seriously breached the AFP’s code of conduct by carrying these goods in the cargo hold of the PM’s plane.

The officer, who was initially contacted in January by the Daily Telegraph over the claims, operates a private business, Helipal Australia, which sells model helicopters through the internet.

The agency’s Professional Standards Unit examined whether the Canberra-based officer had “seriously breached … the AFP code of conduct by using an official aircraft to transport personal goods related to his secondary employment”.

The investigation lasted several months with the AFP telling the officer on March 29 that “you have not breached protocols” and had not abused his position.

“The model aircraft were within your personal luggage and accepted as part of your baggage for the return flight from Brisbane to Canberra,” said Superintendent Con Coutsolitis, Coordinator Investigations (National), in a minute to the officer.

The bodyguard is part of an elite team paid to take a bullet for the Prime Minister and other VIPs.

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